Ipswich sends out postal vote letters to households

Russell Williams

Ipswich council chief executive Russell Williams is hoping to encourage more people to apply for postal votes. - Credit: David Garrad

Letters inviting residents to apply for postal votes for May's local elections in Ipswich have now been sent out to addresses across the town - complete with a form that just needs to be signed and returned to the borough council.

The letters have been sent out by chief executive Russell Williams who is also acting returning officer for the elections on May 6 when county councillors, the police and crime commissioner, and borough councillors will all be up for election in Ipswich.

Mr Williams is not able to hold an all-postal election because legally all voters have to have the right to go to a polling station on the day of the vote.

However he has warned that the Covid restrictions are likely to mean there are far fewer polling stations in the town.

Many of the normal polling stations would be impossible to make Covid-secure because of their size and Mr Williams said it might also be difficult to find enough staff to work at the stations at a time when there are still concerns about the spread of the virus.

Those who do want to vote in person may have to make a longer trip than normal to their local polling station - and could have to queue outside before being allowed in.

Mr Williams said: "Roughly 17,000 people in Ipswich vote by post every year – out of about 100,000 people on our electoral register. I’m hoping there will be far more postal voters this year.

"It is a more Covid-Secure way of voting and it will take the pressure of our polling stations. We know some will be nervous about going to polling stations despite them being Covid-Secure."

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All three political parties at the borough have backed Mr Williams appeal for more people to vote by post this year - and he emphasised that if someone does vote by post in this year's elections it will not mean they have to vote by post in every other election - if things are back to normal next year they could return to voting at a polling station in 2022.

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